Posts Tagged ‘Ukulele Sizes’

The Different Ukulele Sizes

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

A lot of people believe that the size of the ukulele greatly affects a musician’s role in playing the instrument. They think that various ukulele sizes need various approaches and stances as well. However, this is not true except for the baritone which happens to be tuned in a different way. To further understand this, here are the four main classifications of ukuleles according to their size: Soprano/Standard, Concert, Tenor as well as the Baritone.

Soprano or Standard size is perhaps the most popular as well as generally used among the different sizes of ukulele. This size comes exceptionally light, and extremely portable. It usually has a scale length of 13 to 14 inches, with frets of 12 to 14, usually tuned at GCEA and is about 21 inches long from head to toe. It is sometimes has the cheapest prices yet best size for “plinky” re – entrant sound. It also is the smallest among the sizes which produces the tinniest sound related to ukuleles. Disadvantages of such size are the challenge it gives to those sized fingers for such small frets plus if equipped with friction pegs, tuning problems can probably occur.

Concert sizes ukuleles are much larger than the standard or soprano sized ukuleles. They have a scale length of 15 to 16 inches, usually tuned at GCEA, with frets of 14 to 17, and are about 23 inches long from head to toe. It is ideal for backyard jams as well as small gig since the sound produce is slightly fuller and perhaps louder than the soprano. Disadvantage of such size is tuning problems might occur when equipped with friction pegs.

Tenor sized ukuleles are somehow larger than the concert sized ukuleles. It is a popular choice for most of the performing soloists because its produces a greater volume as well as tone compared to the smaller ukulele sizes. It has a scale length of 17 to 18 inches, usually tuned at GCEA, with frets of 17 to 19, and is about 26 inches long from head to toe. Because it has frets more than 15, it makes instrument producers include cutaway designs for musicians to reach higher frets easier. Disadvantage of such size is low quality tuners might be hard to turn because of the increase in string tension.

Baritone sized ukuleles are the largest among the 4 ukulele sizes which happens to produce a much deeper sound than the others. This size entails more knowledge for the musician and a quick transposing to figure out the chords. This size is similar to the size of a guitar however misses the two top strings. It has a scale length of 19 to 20 inches, usually tuned at DGBE or sometimes, GCEA, with frets from 19 to 21, and about 30 inches in length from head to toe. A lot of jazz players prefer to use baritone sized ukuleles because of the big frets. Disadvantage for such size is that ukulele players need to re learn the chords as well note names on how to play the ukulele in a different tuning.